The key difference between endangered species and threatened species is that endangered species refers to an animal or plant species that is seriously at risk of extinction while threatened species refers to a species that is vulnerable to endangerment in the near future.
During the last century, the rate of extinction has been significantly arisen due to detrimental anthropogenic activities on the environment. Therefore, laws had to be brought out to control those human activities in order to conserve the diversity of plants and animals.
Endangered and threatened species are two categories that classify plant and animals according to their possibility of going extinct. Endangered species is a species that is in the verge of extinction. Category of threatened species, on the other hand, has been defined in several ways by several organizations.
What is an Endangered Species?
Endangered species is a plant or animal species that is in the verge of extinction. Heavy harvesting, poaching, killing, hunting, or destroying their natural habitats are amongst the most causative factors for a species to be endangered.
Endangered species have been defined in the US Federal Endangered Species Act of 1973 (Act) as well as in the IUCN (The World Conservation Union) Red List categories. Both definitions describe laws to protect activities that could harm any of the living individuals or habitats of a species that has been categorized as endangered.
Asian Elephant, Dhole, Siberian Tiger, Red Wolf, Gorillas, most Sea Turtles, and Blue Whale are amongst the most endangered animal species of the world. Although endangered species are in the brink of being extinct, captive breeding and reintroduction into the wild can be successful if these conservation activities are done carefully and scientifically.
Therefore, once a species has been identified as endangered, protective measures should be fast and smartly taken. If the status of a species becomes worse than endangered, the species will be categorised as Critically Endangered. On the other hand, if the situation gets better, the species could go into the category Near Threatened, or Vulnerable depending on the trends of population growths.
What is a Threatened Species?
The IUCN category of Threatened Species contains all the species that have been categorized as Endangered, Critically Endangered, and Vulnerable. However, according to the US Federal Endangered Species Act of 1973 (Act), a species in the threatened status has a better population growth trend compared to an endangered species.
The first threatened category is Vulnerable, where the population strength is considerable in terms of numbers but has started to dwindle. In Endangered and Critically Endangered species, the population sizes are dwindling and almost gone, respectively.
The number of species that have been threatened according to the IUCN is very high compared to all other categories except the Data Deficient category. Therefore, a threatened species should be treated seriously well regardless of what the threatened category the species falls to, as the consequences by not doing so would be irreversible.
What is the Difference Between Endangered Species and Threatened Species?
An endangered species is a type of threatened species according to the IUCN. On the other hand, a threatened species become endangered if the situation gets worse according to the US Federal Endangered Species Act of 1973 (Act).
Thus, endangered species is one category, whereas threatened species is a collective term to refer three IUCN categories. There are more threatened species than endangered species. Moreover, it is an endangered species that is in the verge of extinction but not all the threatened species.